Well, we are about to start a long weekend so why not stock up on some reading material related to the northern Ontario economy. To start off, a couple of big picture items with important implications both economically and politically.
Why Canada would be directly in the way of a North Korean nuclear war. National Post. August 3rd, 2017.
It turns out the world is round after all and the shortest route to the United States from North Korea is a curve and the curve takes North Korean missiles right over Canada on their way to destinations like New York or Denver. Looking at the map on this story carefully and one can see that the way to Chicago comes pretty close to Thunder Bay. One wonders if the North Koreans are aware that Thunder Bay (actually the twin Lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur) once styled itself as the up and coming "Chicago of the North". Hopefully, the North Koreans have updated their intelligence and will not get Thunder Bay confused with Chicago - not that it will really matter much if we head off into global thermonuclear war. Where is President Trump's "Wall" when we really need it? I guess, we should all just move to Australia and hang out "On the Beach" with Nevil Shute.
Here in the north, we might want to use our enhanced political clout to get the Ontario government to take on North Korea. However, another story in the National Post is not too taken with the potential for two more northern Ontario riding.
Josh Dehaas: Ontario Liberals plans for two new ridings could violate the Charter and cost PCs the election, National Post, August 3rd, 2017.
In other news:
Thunder Bay Economy Sluggish-Conference Board of Canada. NetNewsLedger, August 3rd, 2017.
Personally, I think sluggish as a description of Thunder Bay's recent economic performance is a bit of an understatement. However, there does appear to be a fair amount of recent hotel, condo and apartment construction so obviously all things considered a lot of people want to live in Thunder Bay either permanently or temporarily despite the economy and the bad national publicity. The Economics Department at Lakehead just hired a new colleague so there is another addition to the local population (4 if you include family). Welcome back to Lakehead Karl & family!
New $15 million plant opens in Timmins. Sudbury Star, July 20, 2017.
It is heavy industry tied to the mining sector. A Timmins-based speciality plant called The Bucket Shop for the creation and manufacture of
custom heavy equipment buckets for front-end loaders, scoop trams,
excavators and even dozer blades for mining and construction industries. If you are in Timmins, put a visit to it on your bucket list.
Which way Sault Ste Marie? Northern Ontario Business. August 2nd, 2017.
Tom Dodds resigns from EDC. Sault Star, August 1st, 2017.
Well, things are economically uncertain in the Sault so it is time for a new strategic approach to economic development. According to the story: " Under the new organizational flowchart, the EDC will handle business
retention, attraction and expansion; export opportunities,
infrastructure development, and tourism. The Innovation Centre will oversee technology and innovation
development, provide support for tech companies and start-ups, run the
Community Geomatics Centre, and handle special projects like the lottery
and gaming initiatives, energy projects, and agricultural
opportunities. The municipality, itself, has set up a Community Development Fund and
will steer the development of a strategic plan, handle community
promotion, arts and culture development and work on the labour front to
attract newcomers and bring home ex-pats."
As an economist, restructuring your economic development approach is more of a political gesture designed to convey concern for the economy as economic fundamentals for the Sault like much of the north remain the same. Still, I am not running for office and if I were I guess I would accept the need to look proactive.
If you are marketing your local economy, this is not good:
Sudbury lands 8th on list of bed-bug ridden cities. CBC Sudbury, August 1st, 2017.
Sault Ste. Marie came in 23rd out of 25. For once, Thunder Bay did not make this type of list.
Sudbury is getting a new events center (not in the downtown) and an economist even suggests how it will be paid for - by taxpayers.
Robinson: how we'll pay for the events centre. Sudbury Star. July 24th, 2017.
And as for the goings on in North Bay:
The hard numbers behind North Bay's population decline. BayToday.ca, August 2nd, 2017.
Well, that is all for this edition of Economic News Around the North. By the way, here is a great Pan Northern Link for news in general. Have a great long weekend!